Overseas Repainting Job Precipitated Crack in Fuselage
Qantas had two 747-400s repainted "in a foreign country," before
the airline put them into service in 1998. Now, both planes are
gounded, after a crach in one of the planes' fuselages was spoitted
in a routine inspection.
It seems that whoever
stripped the plane, had used a steel scraper, instead of a plastic
one. Steel, a lot tougher than the aluminum the plane is made of,
apparently dug out some of the airplane's own metal, creating a
stress riser; and over the years, that weakening developed into a
As a precautionary measure, Qantas's other 747-400 that got the
same treatment at the same place, has been grounded, pending
Australia's CASA has notified the FAA. No other reports of such
damage have surfaced in the two weeks since that first crack was
found; but, as the damage was discovered only on a "heavy"
maintenance check, it is possible other aircraft may face similar
problems, which might not get noticed for a while.